On Tuesday, April 17, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Sportsmen's Heritage Act, which as drafted, could allow much of the National Park System to be opened to hunting and recreational shooting.
The bill included language that purports to exclude national parks and national monuments from hunting and recreational shooting, but is so poorly drafted that it could result in hunting being permitted in national parks, like Yellowstone and the Great Smoky Mountains.
In addition, it ignores the many designations of "national park unit" that also do not allow hunting, such as national historical park, national military park, national memorial, etc. Now that the bill has moved over to the Senate, its advocates are working aggressively to get it to the Senate floor. It is essential that the bill include a genuine exclusion for the National Park System that does not change current law.
Urge your senators to keep hunting out of National Parks.
SUBJECT: Exempt units of the National Park System from H.R. 4089 and S. 2066
I was alarmed to learn that the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Sportsmen's Heritage Act, which includes language that could allow much of the National Park System to be open to hunting and recreational shooting. It defies common sense that areas set aside to commemorate important events in our nation's history, such as Gettysburg, or to honor the great leaders of this country, such as George Washington's Birthplace, could be opened to hunting and recreational shooting
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Besides causing the loss of park wildlife, such activities will interfere with the enjoyment and appreciation of those areas by most other visitors. Congress may or may not have reason to legislate about hunting on some federal lands, but not in the national park system. If the Senate considers this legislation, I ask that you make sure the entire national park system is excluded from it. Where hunting is not now allowed, from Yellowstone to Gettysburg, the law should remain unchanged. And with millions of families and friends visiting the various 397 units of the national park system to learn about our heritage, hike, camp, and watch wildlife, it is ludicrous to elevate hunting as a more important use. Please assure me that you will work to honor the National Park Service's long historic legacy of managing these park lands for the preservation and commemorative purposes for which they were established.
I understand that legislation similar to the House bill (S. 2066) has been introduced in the Senate and referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. When it comes to the House or Senate proposals, please urge that committee and your other colleagues to leave our national parks alone.